Come along for the journey!

Come along for the journey!

Saturday, 7 November 2009


So JP and I had a game - who could get to the bottom of why Israeli amy soldiers carry machine guns home with them? N & I  were amazed at the sheer number of young armed men and women on the streets and the busses. It was nearly 'Shabbat' and so soldiers were homebound from the army camps. On the bus home, I met the suspicious glances of an Israeli soldier with some nice British geniality, and asked the good fellow his name. Turns out he was from the states, a young black man from good zionist stock - converts with a hankering to switch scene from Chicago. On the next seat there was also 'Adriel', a highly literate Goa-visiting pantheist, and of course our very own Jeanph, 'grafted in' resident, married to a nice Jewish girl.

So, with three diverse and valid opinions, and a game to be resolved, the ensuing conversation was pretty fascinating. I 'threw out there' (pretty hazardous on a public bus with armed people on it) the idea that perhaps young soldiers returning to largely 'Arab' areas were potential targets if in uniform, and especially if carrying a gun. I  pointed out that British soldiers are typically in civvy clothing off-camp and never carry guns. I also suggested that a gun might seem an additional trophy / tool to someone with a grudge (max. points for a soldier with a gun?). I'm aware of the historical context and how Israel might reasonably want to be very mobile to defend itself (vis-a vis: Yom Kippur war). This was my only thought of what may reasonably explain such risky action. I felt no clearer following the conversation, but pretty thrilled to have had such a quintessential introduction to Israeli life.

I'm well aware that I am very naive of the complexities surrounding the Israeli political and military situation. It's a cliche, but I'm sure we'll leave with more questions than answers.
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